They did it the hard way but Shire are through to the third round of the Scottish Cup after an extra-time victory over Buckie Thistle at Victoria Park.
It seemed as though the visitors had the tie sewn up at half-time after a barnstorming opening 45 minutes in which the raced into a two goal lead.
But for all that dominance they paid the price for a disastrous start to the second period when Buckie hit back with two quickfire strikes to level the scores and take things into extra-time.
There were some ropey moments for the Shire faithful to endure before goals in the additional 30 minutes from Nico Gibson and Fraser Team eventually carried them forward to an away tie in the next round with East Fife.
Coach John Coughlin was hampered in his team selection by suspension to Ryan Frances and David Cane, while injury prevented the inclusion of Alex Lurinsky.
Joe Dingwall and Stuart Beveridge were recalled while Kevin Turner made the starting eleven after a spell on the substitutes bench.
The visitors made an explosive start to the match taking the lead after just three minutes and in spectacular fashion. Ally L ove was fouled 20 yards from goal giving Andy Stirling the opportunity to fire the resulting free-kick up and over the defensive wall and into the top right-hand corner of the net.
But everyone connected with the Shire knew that the early advantage would only be preserved with hard work and application. Buckie were always going to be a threat and they were unfortunate not to level things after five minutes when Martin Charlesworth slid a shot wide from just six yards out.
With ten minutes on the clock Stirling cut in from the left touchline and cracked in an angled drive which Main in the Buckie goal did well to dive full-length to save.
The first half became increasingly one-sided with Shire to the fore. Michael Hunter forced Main into a decent save after 14 minutes and ten minutes later a Stirling cross caused mayhem in the home team’s six yard box. Scott Maxwell swung a boot at it and the ball crawled towards the line but not quickly enough and the ball was hacked away by a home defender.
And just a minute later Bradley Coyne was clean through with only the keeper to beat but Main stopped his team going two goals behind with a fantastic save.
But the Buckie keeper was beaten for a second time after 29 minutes. Turner’s break from deep ended with a great pass across the field that picked out Andy Stirling.
The Shire midfielder switched the ball inside to Bradley Coyne and he gave Main no chance with a cracking shot from the 18 yard line.
With a minute of the first half remaining Turner had a great opportunity to give Shire a 3-0 advantage after being put clean through on goal but his shot was just over the Buckie crossbar.
The visitors’ total dominance of the first half seemed to leave them in complete command of the tie, but Highland League opponents rarely lie down in such circumstances and that certainly proved to be the case.
Within five minutes of the re-start the home team had pulled a goal back when a cross from the left was headed back across goal at the far post for MacMillan to shoot home.
As is so often the case the goal changed the course of the game and Buckie, with a large and now noisy crowd behind them, went all out in search of an equaliser.
It came after 58 minutes when Calum Antell tried to punch a dangerous-looking cross behind for a corner. However, his attempted clearance was blown back into play by a blustery wind and Chisholm was first to react heading the ball into an empty net.
Shire’s cup chances were now hanging by a thread and they ought to have been behind after 68 minutes when Charlesworth won a race for the loose ball on the edge of the box. He beat Antell with his shot but luckily for Shire Iain Chisholm raced back to clear the ball off the line.
And then the Buckie storm blew itself out. Shire steadied the ship and chances at both ends became fewer and fewer. In fact, Ally Love might have stolen a win for the visitors but his shot after 81 minutes produced a decent save from the home keeper.
However, the period of extra-time that followed the end of the match was only three minutes old when Shire did re-establish their advantage. Substitute Fraser Team was the architect with a brilliant bit of wing play wide on the right that created the space for a low cross which Nico Gibson threw himself at to turn the ball over the line from point-blank range.
Buckie were far from done, though, and they responded with a series of high balls into the box for their giant substitute strikers to get on the end of. Fortunately for Shire, all their efforts were off target.
With six minutes to go the tie was as good as won for the visitors. Team intercepted a Buckie pass out of defence and raced down the right wing before cutting inside to beat Main with a perfectly judged chip over the advancing keeper which found the back of the net to spark wild Shire celebrations.
BUCKIE THISTLE : Main, Angus, Duncan, Morrison, McKinnon, Clark,(Napier 44), Chisholm(H. Munro 89), Stewart, McMillan(D. Munro 85), Charlesworth, Sutherland.
SHIRE : Antell, Chisholm, Dingwall(Gibson 8), Beveridge, Jackson, Hunter, Stirling, Maxwell(Team 84), Turner(Savage 105), Coyne, A. Love.
REFEREE : J. Beaton.